Form 3P guide: Application to interfere with bed and banks

A step-by-step guide to completing a Form 3P application.
Last updated:

While Water Online is the most efficient way to apply for and manage your licences, applications are also accepted on paper forms. These may be forwarded to your local department office by post, fax or email.

This is a guide to completing an application on a paper form.

An application for a licence or permit does not guarantee access to water. You are encouraged to view our Water Register to understand the water availability in your area.

A guide to completing a Form 3P application

This guide is for Form 3P - Application to interfere with bed and banks.

Read about the nine parts to the Form 3P application below.

Application Form 3P is relevant for:

  • a new section 11, 17 or 21A permit to interfere with bed and banks
  • an amendment to an existing permit to interfere with bed and banks.

For more general information on bed and banks permits, please refer to fact sheet Supplementary information for permit applications to interfere with beds or banks of watercourse. You can also view and download a Form 3S application to take surface water.

If you require further assistance, please contact us on 1800 508 885 or

Important information

It is important to ensure you have provided all information required on the application form.

To help you with this, we have included a checklist located at the back of the application form. There is also a section detailing the attachments you may need and any other documentation you may be required to submit in support of your application.

Supporting documents provided as part of the application may be required under legislation to be made available through Freedom of Information or as part of a parliamentary inquiry. Applicants should note in their applications which documents or information contained in documents are confidential and for what reasons.

Applications deemed incomplete will be returned. Delays caused by the return of an application may result in water not being available when the completed application is re-submitted.

Part 1: Application

What is my application type?

Select 'new section 11/17/21A permit to interfere with bed and banks' on the application form when you do not have an existing permit.

Select 'an amendment to an existing permit' on the application form if you are requesting changes to your existing permit.

To help us process your application, please provide your existing permit number in the box provided on the application form. Your permit number will begin with the letters PMB.

Part 2: Applicant(s) details

It is important that we have your correct details to ensure any licence that may be issued in response to your application is a valid legal document.  

We may also need to contact you during the assessment process, particularly if we require further information from you to assess your application. If we have your phone number and email we can avoid unnecessary delays.

What name do I put on the application form?

A licence can only be issued to a legal entity. All individuals are legal entities and can apply for a licence.

The name(s) of all the persons you wish to be shown on the licence need to be provided. You must provide full name(s). A licence is a legal document and your full name is required. Initials cannot be accepted.

You can also nominate a point of contact within an organisation, or on behalf of other applicants.  In this case we need a letter of authority for this person to act on the applicant's behalf. A statutory declaration can also be used for giving this authority.

Individual: All individuals are legal entities and can apply for a licence.

Organisation: The following organisation types are legal entities:

Company: A company is a business, which undergoes incorporation and becomes a legal entity, separate from the individuals who established it. A company may be registered as either a proprietary company or a public company. A company name has an associated Australian Company Number (ACN) and an Australian Business Number (ABN).

Partnership / Family partnership: A partnership is the relation between persons carrying on a business in common with a view of profit under the Partnership Act 1895.  A partnership is not a separate legal entity from the partners. A Partnership Name will have an associated Australian Business Number (ABN).

Association /Incorporated body: Many social, sporting and community groups can incorporate under the Associations Incorporations Act 1987. Associations must supply an Incorporated Association Registration Number (ARN) on the application form.

Water service provider: A list of water service licence holders and their licence details is available on the Economic Regulation Authority website.

Government: All local, state and federal government agencies are legal entities.

Aboriginal community: All aboriginal communities are legal entities.

Strata company: A strata company may be a legal entity, that falls within the incorporated body category. The strata company must have a valid IARN or ABN to ensure they are a legal entity.

Trustees and beneficiaries: Trustees and beneficiaries are legal entities, but not the trust itself.

The trustee’s name(s) should be identified on a water licence or permit, described as either a:

  • natural person (e.g. Joe Smith)
  • legal entity (e.g. company name)
  • a body corporate name where enabling legislation identifies it as a ‘statutory body trust’.

Business names: A business name is not a legal entity.

Trusts: A trust is a relationship between two or more legal entities, where one legal entity (the trustee) holds property on behalf of one or more legal entities (the beneficiaries). While trustees and the beneficiaries are legal entities, the trust itself is a relationship, and cannot own or occupy land, or hold licences.

Do I need to provide an ABN, ARN or ACN?

If you have applied for a licence in a company/organisation name you will need to provide the relevant Australian Business Number, Australian Registration Number or Australian Company Number.

If you are a company you must have an associated Australian Company Number (ACN) or Australian Business Number (ABN).

If you are a partnership you will have an associated ABN.

If you are an association or incorporated body you must supply an Incorporated Association Registration Number (ARN).

If you are a strata company that falls within a incorporated body then you must have a valid ARN or ABN.

What address do I provide?

You must provide us with your postal address as all correspondence related to your application and/or licence will be sent here. You must also provide a physical address if you have entered a PO Box address in the postal address section.

Why does the department need my phone number?

We may need to contact you to verify or confirm information in your application. To avoid unnecessary delays in processing your application, please provide a contact phone number.  You can also provide an email address if you have one.

Am I a water service provider?

Water services are regulated under the Water Services Act 2012, under this Act water utilities are regulated by the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) through licensing. Exemptions from licensing may be granted by the Minister for Water.

A water service is the provision of any of the following services to another party by means of reticulated conduits and appropriate works:

  • water supply service – supply of potable or non-potable water
  • sewerage service – collection, treatment and disposal of sewerage
  • irrigation service – provision of water for irrigation for agriculture or pasture
  • drainage service – management of stormwater, groundwater, surface water or soil salinity, which may include managing the quality of water.

For details on how to apply for a water service licence and view a list of current water service licence holders please visit the Economic Regulation Authority website.

Find out how to obtain an exemption.

If you are not a water service provider, please leave this section blank.

Part 3: Application details

There may be other forms that need to be completed or information to be provided to the department depending on how you propose to take the water and whether the infrastructure is in place or needs to be constructed (new).

Your application(s) can be processed in a timely manner if all the relevant information is provided. All relevant application forms for your proposal can be submitted together.

What is the permit for?


Dam/weir permits are always required to construct on-stream dams or weirs in proclaimed surface water areas.

A dam is an embankment constructed to store or regulate surface water flow. A dam can be constructed in or outside a watercourse.

A weir is a low structure across a watercourse retaining only a small proportion of the mean annual flow.


Provide the watercourse name or description, if you have an existing permit this will be located on your permit. If you do not know the watercourse name leave the field blank.

Change to watercourse

If any water will leave the property other than in the original watercourse, you need to specify where the water is leaving the property.

In addition, approval for a permit will not be granted without an agreement from the affected landowners if the water will enter a neighbouring property other than in the original watercourse. Water leaving your property should not be likely to cause damage to a neighbour's property.

What additional information is required for a new application?

If you also propose to take water, please also complete Form 3S - Licence to take water and include with your application.

Please indicate in the box provided if you have already submitted, or intend to submit a form 3S to us.

Part 3a: Dam/Weir details

Dam type

Dam definitions to help you complete Part 3a are:

Clay core – the centre of the dam wall is constructed of clay down to an impervious layer. The outsides of the dam wall are usually earth.

Clay blanket – the surface of the wall facing the dammed water is constructed of clay down to an impervious layer. The centre and downstream parts of the wall are usually earth.

Rockfall –the wall is all rock or course sand but has a waterproof layer facing the water. Typically concrete or plastic but could be timber, masonry or metal.

Homogenous – the wall is constructed of the same earth throughout which is compacted to minimise leaking.

Tailwater length – (or ponding length) the length from the dam wall that waters ponds upstream when the dam is full.

Freeboard - the distance between the maximum water surface height when the dam is full and the top of the retaining banks or dam structure.

Do you have a provision to bypass flow?

Please describe how water will bypass your dam or weir.

Bypass – a mechanism that permits water to bypass the dam at times of low water flow in the watercourse, or a mechanism that allows water to be released or passed downstream other that via the dam or weir spillway.

The water level in many dams is regulated by an underwall pipe that requires management by the land owner by adjusting a valve or gate. In some situations where there is a higher risk to the environment or a downstream user the department requires installation of an automatic bypass system. This would typically be a channel from the upstream end of the dam around the side of the dam allowing for all low flows to continue without flowing into the dam. When the flows increase, water will flow into the dam as well as the bypass channel.

Will any water leave the property other than in the watercourse?

Sometimes dams are constructed to create a point from which water can be diverted to another property without flowing back into the natural watercourse. This would normally be by gravity through an open drain or pipe.

If any water leaves the property other than in the natural watercourse you need to specify where and how the water is leaving the property. For example, approval for a permit will not be granted without an agreement from the affected landowners if the water will enter a neighbouring upstream or downstream property causing damage.

When works are completed will any water flood upstream across your property boundaries onto other properties?

Water can be allowed to flood or pond upstream from a dam or other works across neighbouring property boundaries if there is a legally binding agreement between the affected land owners. For example, your dam's tailwaters may extend onto an upstream property.

Part 3b: Other

Please specify the type of work to be carried out.

Examples of other types of works are:

  • the temporary or permanent diversion of watercourses
  • the construction, maintenance or alteration of vehicle, stock, infrastructure or pedestrian crossings
  • the installation or alteration of culverts, jetties, slipways, spillways, fish ladders, measurement structures, riffles and erosion control works
  • river or watercourse rehabilitation or restoration works, including stabilization of banks and vegetation
  • control or removal of weeds or vegetation
  • desilting of river channels or pools
  • interference with the beds and banks of a watercourse that may involve filling, drilling, excavation or the disturbance of vegetation or soil.

Part 4: Property from which the watercourse is accessed

You are only required to complete this section if your application is a:

  • new permit; or
  • request to amend your permit, where the property details of the existing permit have changed. Refer to your existing permit to determine if the property details have changed since the permit was last issued.

What if the application is for mining activities?

If the application is for a mine, complete the fields relating to mines.

Part 6: Location plan

This plan should provide us with the position of the dam, weir, watercourse or other works in relation to your property. We use this information to verify the property description provided above.

These maps are important if you don't know the GPS coordinates of the proposed permit works.

The exact location of your dam, watercourse or other works in relation to your property is important for us to assess your impacts on others and the environment.

Please provide a plan of the property in the box provided or on a separate piece of paper to be included with your application form.

You should include:

  • the location of all wetlands/watercourses/wells/soaks (existing and proposed)
  • watercourse features - pools, rapids, weirs, vegetation
  • major improvements (house, large sheds, etc)
  • roads or landmarks
  • location numbers and property or reserve boundaries
  • shaded areas to indicate areas of proposed works.

Part 7: Resources

We need to know if you have the resources and abilities (including financial) to undertake the proposed activities to which the permit relates.

If you do not currently have all your infrastructure in place, please outline the steps or actions you plan to take to put in place the infrastructure.

Details should include proposed timeframes for those steps or actions to be completed.  

Steps or actions would typically include those related to development of the property (e.g. installation of irrigation) or development of the project (e.g. securing financial support or planning approval).

If you cannot demonstrate you have sufficient resources to undertake the proposed activities, your application may be refused.

Part 8: Other approvals

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation was established by the Government of Western Australia on 1 July 2017. It is a result of the amalgamation of the Department of Environment Regulation, Department of Water and the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority.

Please indicate if you have also applied or intend to apply for any approvals under Part V of the Environmental Protection Act 1986, so that we can consider a coordinated approach to your applications.

Registration of premises

It is an offence to perform any action that would cause a premises to become a prescribed premises of a type listed in Schedule 1 of the Environmental Protection Regulations 1987, unless that action is done in accordance with a works approval, licence, or registration

Works Approval

Part V Division 3 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 requires a works approval to be obtained before constructing a prescribed premises.

Licence to discharge to the environment

It is an offence to cause an emission or discharge onto land, into air or into waters unless a licence or registration is held for the premises. Emissions include but are not limited to gases and particulates, wastewater, noise, contaminates stormwater, dust, leachate, odour and electromagnetic radiation.

Permit to clear native vegetation Under Part V, Division 2 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986

Clearing native vegetation is an offence, unless done under a clearing permit, or if the clearing is for an exempt purpose. Flooding vegetation is considered clearing.

Part 9: Signature or seal of applicant

By signing the application form you are confirming that all information in the application form is true and correct.

Signatures of all applicants must be provided on the application form before it can be accepted.

As the applicant you must sign and date the application.

What if there is more than one applicant for a licence?

If you require multiple names on your licence, a signature is required from each applicant. Check to ensure you have provided details of all applicants at Part 2.

What if I am applying on behalf of a company?

If you are applying on behalf of a company you must provide written evidence that you are authorised to do so. A statutory declaration can also be used for giving this authority.